Bursting with some strange combination of heartache and joy that I had never felt before.
This is how I would begin to describe the incredible day my girls and I had when we embarked on our journey with Beaches Resorts and the Sandals Foundation. Our destination; the Mount Airy School in the Mocho Mountains of Clarendon Parish in Jamaica.
Our group of writers, photographers, bloggers and children rolled up in our air conditioned vans, unloaded into the heat, and made the short walk across the hot dusty yard towards the school house. These little people were waiting for us, just peeking out through their large classroom door. Everything they were feeling was written all over their beautiful faces. They were bursting with anticipation, waiting for their Christmas party to begin. What they couldn’t possibly know? Their guests for the day, the BeachesMoms, were equally giddy with anticipation and excitement. We dropped off the gifts we had carried with us from Canada, and waited for the celebration of the day to begin.
As the children filed out of the school, I snuck in and took a peek.
Their classrooms, clearly worlds apart from ours.
We listened and clapped along to the performances of drummers, singers and spirited dancers. I was left with a smile, goose bumps and a couple of tears. So much sweetness, so much heart! It continues to amaze me that no matter where you go, children everywhere are the same.
My heart melted a little more with each and every smile.
Soon it was time for Santa to arrive, along with a few more special guests!
I watched, holding my breath, wondering which children would receive the gifts we had brought from Canada. Suddenly wishing we had filled more then one small suitcase with presents. Desperately wishing I had thought to pack a bag of gifts for the teachers and Principal of this small but mighty school.
One of our gifts went to this little darling in the blue dress. A girl, who’s friends were quick to tell me, had Autism but they were looking out for her. They were her best friends; my heart. I left a little bit of my heart with her and with Jamaica that day. I knew then this is where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. Paying it forward with my own children in a very small way, spreading the word that we can make a difference in the lives of others with small gestures of kindness, love and donations. The Sandals Foundation is truly doing incredible things for their community. I urge you all to visit their site, see what they are doing, and help if you can.
This is the joy of paying it forward.
These are the faces that made me want to find a way to do more.
Learn more about the incredible things happening by visiting the Sandals Foundation website at www.sandalsfoundation.org, or following along on Facebook and Twitter @SandalsFdn A heart felt thank you to Beaches Resorts and Sandals Foundation for making this visit possible for me and my family.